Earlier this week, Joel and I decided it would be fun to list all the things that were happening the last time the Chiefs won a regular-season game with a quarterback they drafted.
Clark Hunt was a college athlete, Andy Reid was a college offensive line coach and every college student was bobbing his or her head to “Walk Like an Egyptian.”
In other words, it had been a very long time—30 years to be exact.
The 22-year-old Patrick Mahomes ended that drought Sunday, when, at times, sure, he looked like any rookie. But during other times, he flashed brilliance.
There are going to be plays Mahomes will be able to make that few other players in the world could. And he’s not a Patriot, a Steeler or a Packer.
He’s a Chief. He’s your quarterback.
“He came out and made some great throws,” Broncos linebacker Von Miller explained. “He’s a rookie, still, and got out there and played lights out. We had some ones out there and he still came through and played. Hats off to Mahomes.
“He’s going to be the quarterback of the future. He’s going to be a great quarterback. He has great scramble ability. He can scramble and throw the ball. He’s going to be a great quarterback.”
And maybe the best part for Mahomes is that he has something that Alex Smith never had when he was a first-round rookie in San Francisco back in 2005.
Mahomes has an Alex Smith, a 13-year pro in the prime of his career to learn from.
“I mentioned to our guys that he’s so fortunate to have been in that room with Alex Smith,” Andy Reid said in his postgame press conference. “Just to know how to go about doing your job at this level, and he did that this week. He spent the time knowing that he was going to be the guy. Alex was a great support for him.”
When I first read that Reid quote, I debated in my head whether or not it was simple coachspeak.
Reid has to say these things, I figured, because it’s important to reinforce who the man is before the upcoming wild-card game against the Titans Saturday.
Then I kept reading, and Mahomes’ words were telling.
“Alex is an awesome guy,” Mahomes said. “He helped me the entire game. He really showed me what he was seeing out there, showed me things he was recognizing and giving me tips. You really can’t ask for a guy to be in front of you as well as Alex has been for me.”
Smith has been called a lot of things throughout his career in San Francisco and now Kansas City, the most common one being “game manager.” I’d argue that Smith did enough on the field in 2017 to break free from that, hopefully for the rest of his career.
But in watching Mahomes Sunday and hearing the words of thankfulness for Smith after, it’s important to bring the things we don’t get to see to light.
Smith didn’t have to help Mahomes this season, and maybe you wouldn’t have blamed him after the way his exit went down in San Francisco.
But that isn’t who Smith is—and it showed in Mahomes’ play and professionalism.
After years of searching for that one quarterback, it’s kind of funny how things turned out.
Now the Chiefs have two.
And now, five items of note from Sunday.
1. Kareem Hunt won the NFL’s rushing title.
One of you #PrideHeads annoyed me today on Twitter when you wrote to me that Kareem Hunt won the NFL rushing title in a “lame ass way.”
What the Twitter user was referring to was the fact that both Todd Gurley and Le’Veon Bell were sitting Sunday while Hunt opted to play.
First of all, it isn’t Hunt’s fault that those other teams opted to rest their starters. Second of all, Reid revealed after the game that he wanted to sit Hunt, but Hunt came to him and wanted to play.
“He wanted to do this thing,” Reid said. I fought him a little bit on it and he won that fight. He told me he’d get it taken care of quick and he did that. My hat goes off to him.”
One play—35 yards, a touchdown and a rushing title. There are two other players in the history of the Chiefs to win the rushing title and they are Priest Holmes (2001) and Christian Okoye (1989).
In a year the Chiefs finally got their quarterback, they quietly drafted a suitable replacement for the greatest running back in franchise history. Well done by John Dorsey and the personnel staff.
2. How about “The Sherminator”?
Chiefs fullback Anthony Sherman had six career carries in seven years headed into Sunday’s game. He had 14 for 40 yards and his first career rushing touchdown and looked like a bulldog doing it.
After the game he also posted this on Instagram:
Yes. Anthony Sherman posted a photo of himself with a terminator eye. The best.
3. Albert Wilson had his first 100-yard game.
Oklahoma City may have “Hoodie Melo.” I see your Hoodie Melo and raise you the Chiefs’ “Dad Sweatshirt Bert.”
I don’t know what made Albert Wilson decide to wear a Dad sweatshirt under his jersey Sunday, but if he is going to play like he did, he should do it every week, even if it is September.
Wilson had the first 100-yard game of his career, finishing with 10 catches for 147 yards.
I think it’s worth noting his rhythm with Patrick Mahomes, and if Mahomes is going to be Chiefs’ next starting quarterback, I think it makes all the sense in the world to make sure to keep Wilson. They connected several times on the Chiefs’ game-winning drive Sunday.
“Albert told me, ‘This is what we do. We’ve practiced it and let’s do it,’” Mahomes said. “I said, ‘Let’s do it.’ He made a ton of plays on that last drive.”
Wilson is an unrestricted free agent after the season. It’s time to strike “Pay Bert.”
I’ll be here all week.
4. I feel bad for De’Anthony Thomas.
De’Anthony Thomas fractured his tibia Sunday, ending his season.
Thomas bounced back from an odd ending to his 2015 season to carve out a gig as a role player for the Chiefs for 2016 and 2017, but with the Chiefs using him more and more sparingly down the stretch, you wonder if he will be back with the team next year.
Like Wilson, Thomas is also an unrestricted free agent after the season.
THE GRIND DONT STOP— DE'ANTHONY THOMAS (@DATBLACKMOMBA13) January 1, 2018
I think it is easy to forget how speedy Thomas is because the Chiefs drafted the fastest player in the universe. I also think Thomas could play a similar role on another team.
It will all depend on how he recovers from his surgery, which Andy Reid said he would be having in Denver after the game.
5. Postgame quotes of the week
BRONCOS QB PAXTON LYNCH
On whether he thinks he should be the starting quarterback next season: “Obviously as a football player, I say yes. That’s what I want to do. I want to be the quarterback of this organization. That’s what they brought me here for. That’s why they moved up in the first round to get me. That’s what I believe in my heart. That’s what I’m trying to do and that’s what I’m working to do.”
BRONCOS DE SHELBY HARRIS
On a report Sunday morning on Vance Joseph’s job status: “That’s garbage, he should be here. It’s not Vance’s fault, it was our fault. I stand with Vance 100 percent.”
CHIEFS FB ANTHONY SHERMAN
On having an impactful day: “It was fun. I mean, it was a lot different than what I usually get to do but I enjoyed it. We knew coming into this game that we were going to be down some backs. We didn’t want to put [RB] [Kareem] Hunt out there in case something happens. I took over and just did what I was supposed to do, and luckily we got the win.”
CHIEFS RB KAREEM HUNT
On Sunday’s win: “It’s momentum. We’re keeping it rolling. Winning is the only thing right now. That’s all we need to do, keep winning. Now it’s the second season, so we’ve got to keep winning.”
On Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes: “Patrick’s effort, he’s been getting in early in the morning. Listen, for young quarterbacks coming up through, he’s going about it the right way and spends a ton of time doing it. He’s not banking on the skill that he’s been blessed with. He’s trying to get himself to be the best, and by doing that, spending that time, it pays off in situations like this.”